<![CDATA[The Princess Rancher - Blog]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 14:48:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[On Solid Ground]]>Fri, 27 Oct 2017 12:46:40 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/on-solid-ground
Another trip around the sun.  As we head into another cold season at the ranch it is our task to ready our animals for the windy, sometimes harsh toils of Winter.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Crisp, cool mornings, the sun warming my skin, trees a kaleidoscope of spectacular colors, all signals to grab the beauty of the season while you can.  This is also a time of friends and family. Sharing our working day with those we love is the best part.  This year we are blessed with a quick trip from my daughter, along with two of her vet techs needing experience with large animal husbandry.  Even though my daughter is a small animal vet, spending the day working with large animals is a fun change and a great learning experience for her friends.

On our working days we strive to keep things orderly, low-key and as stress-free for our animals as humanly possible.   Over time we have developed a system that flows easily and works efficiently. Working days were not always easy, especially with my learning curve but many moons have passed and finally I have come full circle.  I still have a lot to learn but I am light years ahead of where I started seven years ago.  Getting comfortable with the work and having a system in place is the pivot point between chaos and calm.  I opt for calm, safe and fun for all involved.

At our ranch we are strong stewards of the land.  We work hard to be grass farmers so our animals stay happy and healthy, a task my husband spends all year working on and the fruits of his labor have paid off.  Three years into our new home and you wouldn't recognize the place.  His attention to the soil and our rotational grazing has changed the face of our ranch.  It is a work in progress but I am proud of all that he has accomplished in such a short time.  Our land is our most precious resource so it is our main focus as we care for the animals that graze it.

As Winter slowly creeps in it is my time to slow down and focus on other things.  Building a cocoon of my favorite books, research, writing and exploring helps to renew my spirit in the slow time.  There is still work to be done but the pace slows as the temperatures drop, I embrace the change.

Winter is coming, build your own cocoon and enjoy!  Thank you to all of our family and friends!  We couldn't do this without you!
Love, Live, Enjoy and Share the Season!
The Princess Rancher

<![CDATA[Dinner Party Redux]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 14:14:23 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/dinner-party-reduxPicture
Coming of age in the '80's dinner parties were lavish, over-the-top affairs to dazzle and impress.  Life was all about the sizzle!  Why?  Did we have something to prove or was it as simple as our yardstick for measuring success.  To out-do the other was certainly the order of the day.  Right or wrong we all enjoyed the competitive spirit.

Today we live with a different mind-set.  Clean, simple, sustainable, down to earth, not so fussy, but we still love to get together with friends.  Simplicity is refreshing, organic and I love the new mindset.  I embrace our younger generation's desire to live in the moment.  They have traded the quest for material things for travel, adventure and jobs they love.  The idea that we don't live until we retire at 65 is gathering dust and rightfully so.  Passion and creativity are free and infusing it into our lives builds an eternal flame of happiness.

So what does the new dinner party look like?  Let's start with a signature cocktail. Mixology has earned it's status as a mainstay now so why not greet your guests with a great party starter.  After that it is wide open.  With grilling season still in full swing, ask your guests to BYOR, (bring your own ribeye) this cuts down on cost and helps the host focus on the rest.

Great food is simple.  Fresh food is spectacular.  With over 8500 farmer's markets in the U.S. fresh is attainable for many. When your food is fresh very little fuss is required.  Fresh herbs add drama and color.  Get creative!  The beauty of our plugged-in society is you can now google a list of ingredients and 100's of recipes pop up.  No fuss, no sweat, no hassle.  Life is good.  As a former "80's girl I have come to love simplicity.  Great ingredients speak for themselves.  They have nothing to prove and neither do I.  Embrace this new mentality of simplicity.  Fun is easy.  Let's have a party!!!

Look for ideas and recipes, here and on instagram (freckles1960).  See ya at the table!
Kelly aka The Princess Rancher

<![CDATA[How Does Your Garden Grow?]]>Sat, 22 Jul 2017 12:46:48 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/how-does-your-garden-grow
My genetics would certainly predispose me to farming.  Over the years I have made half-hearted attempts to satisfy my ancestors.  Most of the time the garden lost steam before the engine ever really revved up.  For the life of me I didn't understand the fulfillment that comes from rooting around in the dirt.  I just wasn't feeling it. I had bigger fish to fry.  Then I moved to a farm, or as we call it, a ranch.

Ranching, raising cattle, building fence, the list goes on but it all ends up in the same place...dirt.  I learned to get dirty and embrace it.  Most days I stay dirty until I come in for the day, it just goes with the territory.   Then something magical occurred, when you wear so much dirt on a daily basis you begin to understand the beauty of its existence. The miracles it can conjure begin to inspire the imagination.

I began to care about a garden in earnest.  My first two attempts still lost steam half way through the season.  So much work. So many weeds.  Watering was a pain and I just couldn't bring myself to work so hard along with all of the other chores that needed to be completed everyday.  The prospect of fresh vegetables was a desire I just couldn't rise to.  It was demeaning to be a newly minted country girl who couldn't handle a garden.  I had to channel my inner genetics and come up with a solution that would work for this farm girl.  Enter container gardening.

Container gardening in my opinion ranks up there with the polio vaccine.  A miracle of engineering.  A game changer.  Why did it take me so long to understand the merits?  

One of my foibles is I like everything to be aesthetically pleasing.  Container gardening fit the bill.  We built long boxes and arranged them in a "U" so that I could plant something nice in the middle, stain the boards and make it look like a landscaped part of our yard.  This started the endeavor off in a positive light.  No ugly tangled mess.  Next came the beautiful part. Black paper to line the boxes translates to NO MORE WEED pulling or as I found out very few, 2 minutes tops instead of hours. The icing on the cake; rich, black, spectacular soil, not red clay.  Perfect.  The plants went in, it rained all Spring and all I had to do was send a little love as I walked by.  Simple, perfect, right up my alley.

As the boxes sprang to life my heart sang.  Produce of all kinds began to peek into my world and suddenly I understood the beauty of gardening.  This is the new gardening, the no-sweat, wonder gardening!  I have my fresh veggies and my fun! When you go container you never go back!

Happy Harvest!

<![CDATA[FOOD AS MEDICINE...THE SCIENCE OF EATING]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:11:21 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/food-as-medicinethe-science-of-eating

Spring motivates our psyche, it is a time of new goals and beginnings.  It also marks the start of the growing season. Farmer's markets come back to life heralding the promise of locally grown food, our own gardens begin to take shape and all things fresh dominate our thoughts.  So what about food?

I am always on the look out for the best eating habits that make "me" feel good.  What that means in essence is that different people have different needs depending on genetics, lifestyle and activity level.  I am a high energy person that likes to sweat. I like challenging sports and setting goals.  What I have discovered over the years, trying all sorts of diets and food combinations, is that food as medicine really has to do with your blood type and history.  At the suggestion of my natural health doctor I began to embrace the "Eating for your blood type diet".  It has made a world of difference in my overall health, energy, weight, bloat, elimination and my skin. www.4yourtype.com 

Let's use my blood type as an example.  I am O positive.  The O blood type is the oldest.  It was the first real genetic success story. Type O's are characterized as generally lean in body type, productive minds and enjoy strenuous activity. The idea behind the diet is that if you follow your specific blood type diet you will reap the benefits of your genetic heritage and avoid the common health issues usually associated with your specific type.  For me that would be a tendency toward insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid and inflammation.  To combat the ills of type O's genetic predisposition, we should engage in vigorous exercise and eat according to plan, by doing so we can enjoy a healthy weight, manage our stress and reap the benefits of a healthier life.

What does my diet look like as an example?  
  1. It is high in protein: Meat and fish
  2. Vegetable and fruits
Limit grains, beans, legumes and dairy.  For weight loss it is important to limit specifically wheat, corn, lentils, kidney beans, cauliflower, white potatoes and dairy.
FOOD AS MEDICINE:  Food that does more than just nourish: kelp, spinach, red meat, kale, spinach, broccoli and olive oil.

Explore the possibilities yourself.  Food as medicine!  As we enter a new season; a season with a full bounty of fresh, tasty, healthy foods find out what your medicine is!

All the best for a prosperous season.

<![CDATA[Trimm'n the Mustache!]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 13:47:55 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/trimmn-the-mustachePicture
In my last post "Taking on Mr. Money Mustache" I made a list of my top ten favorite activities, if you humored me by doing the same take a look at your list now.  Upon closer examination your list will tell you a lot about yourself and how you like to spend your time.  Does your list revolve around people, shopping, eating, spending money, places that are free or things that cost money to enjoy.  Getting to the core of your happiness as you know it today will give you a place to start if you want to start trimming the fat.

One of the first things I would like to point out is Mr. Money Mustache and myself have one thing in common, we live in a beautiful place; mountains, open country, far from the hustle and bustle of a big city so the natural beauty of our surroundings screams for us to be outdoors.  Outdoor activities are plentiful and an easy choice, especially for me because we make a living raising animals, but even if you don't most outdoor activities are free.  Big cities have parks, bike trails, gardens and if you are in the mood, get outta dodge!  Hit the dusty trail for wide open spaces.  The point is you can begin to switch out some of your more expensive past times for ones that don't cost money to enjoy.  Let's say you have one activity that costs you $100.00 a week, switching just that one to a free activity will save you $5,200.00 a year.  Think of what you could do with an extra $5,200.00.  This is all about monetizing your desires.

Having a goal motivates us to change our behavior.  Mr. Money's goal was to retire and live happily with his wife and son before his son was born.  Retiring decades before most people, getting out of the hustle and bustle to live a scaled down life was his motivating challenge.  My goal is to be able to continue to run this ranch, raise animals and work for myself.  It doesn't mean you don't take on extra jobs to make money, it just means you work to maintain your freedom to live and work on your own terms.

Our life is so automated today that it is easy to overlook exactly how much money we spend on a monthly basis.  Our automated wine service, food box, auto-bill pay and endless take out adds up to a firestorm of money flying out the door. We have lost touch with our spending.  Handling a crisp bill and then handing it over physically for goods and services gave us a direct connection with the reality of our spending. Automation and credit cards have severed this physical connection leading to overspending at warp speed.  

For fun this week switch out one regular paid activity for one free activity and monetize it.  Mine is getting rid of my wine service.  $57.00 a month at 12 months= $684.00 a year.  Simple and actually quite painless...


Enjoy!  The Princess Rancher

<![CDATA[I'm Taking On Mr. Money Mustache!  Can I Channel his Inner           Frugal?]]>Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:32:13 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/im-taking-on-mr-money-mustache-can-i-channel-his-inner-frugalPicture




Can a former material girl become "Your Royal Frugal Highness"? We first must explore  our desire to spend.  Our society has made several transitions over the generations from a primarily agronomous society to an industrial society and finally to a society ruled by consumerism.  The desire to consume above all else begins in the psyche.  We must be subliminally taught over time that the key to happiness is in the pursuit of stuff.  This development in its short form is; happiness equals buying things, but  what we have failed to understand about this journey is that it is the hunt that is exciting not the fulfillment of the desired object.  Once we have that special "thing" it's on to the next thing so let's explore happiness.  If we begin to monetize what really makes us happy we can begin to understand how to rearrange our thinking.

Let's start this adventure off with a list.  I dare you all to take on my little challenge.  Make a list of the top 10 activities that you love followed by how much they cost.  I will indulge you with mine:

1)  Waking up with a steaming fresh cup of coffee taking in the beautiful mountain views. (COST: 6 cents for the coffee)                                                                                                
2)  Riding my horses on a beautiful day taking in the spectacular mountain panorama.  (COST: -0-)
3)  Working on my latest book  (COST: -0-)
4)  Swinging in my hammock reading a great book under my favorite tree. (COST: -0-)
5) Having lunch with my husband on our deck watching our cattle and horses graze nearby.  (COST: $5.00 for the two of us)
6)  Meeting friends for drinks after work:  (COST:  $30.00)
7)  Sitting on our patio after a day spent working outside with a glass of wine watching our cows come into water and all of the scampering babies playing along the way. 
(COST: $2.00)  
​8)  Watching a beautiful sunset over the mountains in the evening (COST: -0-)
9)  Cooking a fantastic gourmet meal for the two of us (COST: $20.00)
10)  Being surrounded by family when they come to visit us.  PRICELESS

Now you can reflect, make your own list. From there we will continue our journey.  
Until next time!  Have fun!  Share it, love it and above all else enjoy it!

​The Princess Rancher

<![CDATA[Ride the Weather Merry-Go-Round!]]>Sat, 07 Jan 2017 18:31:40 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/ride-the-weather-merry-go-round
Winter weather in Virginia is crazy; up, down and all around. This year I am working up a royal sweat just figuring out what coat, or not, to wear when I go outside to feed.  Seems like when we have years like this when the weather is 60 one day and 30 and snowing two days later the "bugs" go around with a vengeance!  I dub this the year of the "super bug"! Everyone has it and it just won't seem to go away but like it or not when you are responsible for so many animals it doesn't matter how you feel you at least have to get them fed before you collapse for the day.

Our resident mascot above has decided that we can't get the hay rolled out quick enough for her.  Spot here was in our first group of feeders when we started our business, she ended up to be so fun and docile that we decided we needed to put this colorful queen in with our Angus/Black Baldy cow/calf operation for a little dazzle, color and fun.  She has turned out some beautiful calves and we have never looked back.  She is always the first in the chow line and the last to leave.

On our operation we roll out our hay for many reasons; more gets eaten, less wasted, manure is spread around in a large area for better fertilization and one area doesn't get trashed from a feeder.  This is our choice and it works for us but one of the major benefits is for the calves during very cold weather because it also provides bedding to keep them warm.

Getting your herd ready for cold weather and maintaining them in optimum condition is a rancher's number one priority during the winter months.  Providing wind breaks if you don't have natural ones is essential.  Reducing wind speed from 20 mph down to 5 mph or less results in reducing cow's energy maintenance requirements by as much as 30%!  This makes a huge impact on the amount of feed you need to get them through the winter healthy and with cattle prices as depressed as they are any practice that saves money and resources is just more for your bottom line.

Rolling out hay and/or providing bedding for calves is another way to boost your bottom line.  Studies have shown that during extreme weather calves that have bedding to nest in gain .86 more pounds per day than non-bedded calves.  This one simple activity translates directly to your bottom line!

As ranchers we all do what we can to get our herds, horses and ourselves through the winter in the best health possible.  Me...I can't wait until it clears up enough to use my new saddle!
Giddy yup! Stay warm, happy and healthy.
​Happy New Year!

<![CDATA[Passing the Baton...at least for this year!]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:19:02 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/passing-the-batonat-least-for-this-yearPicture
In our family the big blowout is always Thanksgiving.  It is an easier holiday to come together as a family without the obligations of Christmas and extended others.  We traditionally come in from our respective parts of the world for a ranch Thanksgiving filled with outdoor activities, food and family fun.  Christmas is our time to come together with our immediate family to relax, catch up and share a revolving weekend of food.

This is our little fun from last year. Typically we gather at our house for Christmas which means that our kids have to travel leaving their own homes for the holiday. I have always appreciated the sacrifice on their part and understand that it will not always be easy to get away.  This is one of those years.  For the first time my husband and I will be doing the moving around and for the first time I will be passing the baton to my daughters.  They will be cooking, running around and hosting me.  I love it!  What a breath of fresh air for me and for them.  I know it must be wonderful to finally spend a holiday in their own living rooms, establishing their own menus and their own traditions.  It is an exciting time and frankly I look forward to the break.  Thanksgiving is always a huge undertaking with twenty of us for a weekend so this year is a vacation for me!  I look forward to the fun, the laughter and most of all I look forward to the gift of giving them their own holiday at home!

To all my friends and followers, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a great year, support, friendship and fun!  I wish everyone a safe holiday and a spectacular 2017!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Wonderful New Year!

<![CDATA[Get A Little Help From My Friends!]]>Fri, 11 Nov 2016 16:52:21 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/get-a-little-help-from-my-friends
Pulling together to help family and friends is a long tradition in farming and ranching communities across the country.  Most of us wouldn't survive without it because we don't have the luxury of having employees. The vast majority of us rely on our family, friends and neighbors in times of need.  It is this kind of community spirit that can move mountains!  When our gang pulls together to help us we return the favor to help them.

​As we move forward after one of the most divisive elections since the 1800's remember these words:
                                           "We need to be the change we wish to see in the world."
                                                              Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
                                                               INDIAN POLITICAL LEADER
Let's put our differences aside and build a stronger America together.  Each one of us can decide what we want our world to look like and if each one of us builds that perfect world in our own backyard it will transfer to the world at large.  It is time to be compassionate, forgiving, helpful and openminded.  Change begins at home.  We may only truly understand life backwards, but because we must live it forwards, it is today and what we do with it that really matters.  What we do today can influence our future and create a past with no regrets.  Each one of us matters and each one of us has the power to make a huge difference in this world.  Believe it, Act on it and rejoice in it!  In my corner of the world my husband and I continue to partake in one of the most honorable, rewarding and compassionate industries in this country; ranching and the feeding of America!  Do your part for a better tomorrow.

​The PR...........Love it, Like it and Share it!

<![CDATA[Ranch Family Values]]>Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:43:15 GMThttp://princessrancher.com/blog/ranch-family-values
A working day on our ranch always seems to bring back what is important in life.  If we pay too much attention to the hype and the media it is easy to get discouraged. It feels like the world is falling apart but if we step back and savor the realities of life a different picture emerges.

Twice a year on our ranch we call in all of the troops for help doing our bi-annual doctoring.  This is when we get the herd in to make sure they have the necessary vaccinations they need to go into the next season and remain healthy.  We split off calves, tag any newborns, castrate, update our records and above all else, have a good time with people we love.  Learning to be a rancher late in life has taught me the necessity of helping one's neighbors.  The farming and ranching community depends on their family, friends and neighbors to get the job done and what I the love most is the spirit in which we all count on each other and help in times of need.  It is truly what this business is all about and the heartfelt way in which everyone embraces family values and friendship restores my faith in the world and makes me proud to be in this business.  

Our way of life may be disappearing and the makeup of the American family may be changing but families are families, tribes are tribes and the value systems we all count on can be kept alive. Our own private community should be a place where we can stand on solid ground.  In times of transition and flux our extended family is where we find love, acceptance, support and values, tenets that make us good people.

​Remember your family and friends.  Have fun and embrace your good fortune!
Mooove over it's time to bring on that loving feeling!
​Live it, Love it and always Share it!